Tonight on NCIS, fans of the hit CBS procedural will meet the team of the heavily anticipated NCIS spin-off. Gibbs (Mark Harmon) and McGee (Sean Murray) are flying to Los Angeles to work with the NCIS special operations team to solve a murder that could have implications on national security.
As for one of the stars of the NCIS spin-off, rapper and actor LL Cool J says he's determined to retain the best things about the show, as he is a fan himself.
"The chemistry between the characters is incredible: the banter, the way they've developed over the years," he says. "That is probably the best thing about the show."
LL Cool J, 41, who'll play former Navy SEAL and family man Special Agent Sam Hanna, adds that it was great working with Harmon.
"I let him know I respect the franchise and want to do it justice. I don't want to be the one to wreck it."
LL Cool J, Chris O'Donnell and Louise Lombard have two episodes, set to air tonight and on May 5, to convince NCIS fans to also tune in to the spin-off, which CBS says will also focus on a "tight-knit NCIS team" but with special concentration on national security cases, such as terrorism.
O'Donnell, meanwhile, is a "loose canon with a mysterious past," who was fired by other agencies before settling in at NCIS, says executive producer Shane Brennan.
Both O'Donnell and LL Cool J report to Lombard's character in the spin-off, Lara Macy, whom Gibbs isn't "particularly happy" to work with. Brennan hints that the two heads might have some history, which may result in NCIS fans finding out more things about their beloved Gibbs.
Besides launching the new team, the back-to-back episodes still "figure significantly" in the season finale, Brennan vows.